Evan Young
Evan Young
Founder, Owner, Lead Instructor
Appalachian Boarding Company
Evan Young
Keeping your balance on West Virginia waters

March 7, 2017

"I was sitting on a beach in Puerto Rico," Even Young told Putnam Rotary today, "and I saw somebody paddling out on their knees next to a surfer who was belly-down.

"They had a paddle on a surfboard!

"They make it out beyond the breakers. And then they stand up. They ride! It looked like they were walking on water.

"And I was captivated from that moment with stand up paddleboarding.

"I took my first jump on a paddleboard on the Ohio River between Point Pleasant and Barboursville at Shady Waters Campground," he said. ."And the gap in the river is so vast at that place that only a crazy person would try it on a paddleboard. . . . That crazy person was me.

"I had tried to exercise many times before," he said. "But it was to no avail. I would succumb to injury. I was overweight. I weighed close to 300 pounds. I had succeeded in many areas. But I had no balance.

"Standup paddleboarding helped me loose about 60 pounds."

A native of Putnam County and a Marshall graduate, Evan Young and spouse Brooke had managed the Buckle Retail Stores in Barboursville and Charleston, growing their business by $5 million in less than three years.

"The hard-earned money of coal miners used to come across the counter consistently, and that's one reason we became one of the top four out of 500 stores in the nation."

"Money was my master," Young admitted. "It dictated my schedule. But within those four walls you can only do so much.

He came to think that pushing the latest consumer trend was something that really didn't matter in the big scheme of things. "That's when I realized," he said, "that paddleboarding could do so much more."

The new sport could help people break away from the pressures and tedium of contemporary life.

"It's made changes in my life from the inside out," he admitted.

And that's when Evan Young decided to bring the new sport of Stand Up Paddleboard -- or SUP -- into West Virginia.

With the new sport, he said, "I'm excited to make us first in a lot of areas. [The University of Charleston] was the first college to have paddleboarding. We used the dock out back for the first time in thirty years for something other than for the rowing team.

"Last year in our 'summer full of firsts,' we helped Montessori Middle School do four weeks of activities on the Coal River and the Kanawha River. We helped Teays Valley Christian School, the first high school, to incorporate paddleboarding into their Fall Retreat.

"Looking forward, we have the Coal River Race on the 15th of April where we're going to look to be the first to standup paddleboard against the kayaks in the rowing portion of that event.

Williams / Nuckles
Justin Williams is (left) is greeted by Chuck Nuckles at the Rotary luncheon today. Williams is a new corporate member of Rotary for First State Bank and a transfer from Barboursville Rotary.
"On April 19th, we're coming back to UC in Eagle Fest 2.0 [the second summer] to help the freshmen wrap up their semester.

"We're going to the Carolina Cup SUP.[Stand Up Paddleboard] at [Wrightsville Beach,] Wilmington, North Carolina, to compete in an international race.

"Then there's the Great Greenbrier Race where we're the first to stand up paddleboard against the kayakers."

Young also expects to compete in the Capital City Challenge, SC, triathlon -- swim, bike and run. A new SUP division has opened up.

"Our state needs to leverage the beautiful resources we have, the beautiful waterways which can be found with stand up paddleboarding."

From their base of operations in Scott Depot. Evan and Brooke Young support their new sport for the Mountain State with a full complement of equipment rentals, accredited expert instruction, activities and tours of state waterways.

Their Appalachian Boarding Company hosts a growing community of SUP enthusiasts on their Facebook internet site.

"It's easy to learn for all ages, the site announces. "You will feel yourself gain stability instinctively as you begin to ignite every major lower body muscle group in conjunction with all supporting muscle groups to achieve balance."

And, perhaps best of all you gain confidence and burn off calories as you learn to keep your balance on West Virginia waters.

More Putnam Rotary News? Click HERE.